For most of us, cucumber soup calls to mind breezy summer afternoons and chilled soup spoons. Home Made cookbook author Yvette Von Boven has other plans for the summer fixture. She serves her light-green soup warm, littering the surface with fried parsley leaves for a bright, herb-filled crunch. Better still, the green essence of the leaves slowly seeps out, dotting the soup with bursts of verdant, parsley-filled flavor, which enhance each bite. Though the soup is enriched with cream and milk, it maintains the crisp, fresh cucumber flavor.
Hot Cucumber Soup with Deep-Fried Parsley
Recipe adapted from Yvette Van Boven, Home Made (Abrams Books)
Yield: 1 1/2 quarts
Cook Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
6 cups vegetable broth
2 Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 medium white onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
3 celery ribs, cleaned and coarsely chopped
1 fresh or dried bay leaf
2 fresh thyme sprigs
2 medium cucumbers, coarsely chopped
½ cup heavy cream
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ cup whole milk
Leaves from 1 bunch of flat-leaf parsley
1. In a large stockpot set over medium heat, combine the vegetable broth, potatoes, onion, celery, bay leaf and thyme sprigs. Simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes. Carefully remove the bay leaf and thyme sprigs and add the cucumbers. Simmer for 5 minutes more. Turn off the heat and use a hand blender to purée the soup until smooth. Stir in the cream and season to taste with salt and pepper. Allow the soup to cool completely, at least 45 minutes, or transfer to a covered container and refrigerate overnight.
2. In a medium saucepot set over high heat, heat the oil to 350°. Carefully add the parsley and fry for a few seconds; the parsley should still be bright green. Remove the parsley from the hot oil with a fine-mesh strainer and drain on paper towels.
3. Return the soup to the stockpot and heat over medium heat until almost boiling. Stir in the milk and remove from the heat. Use a hand blender to briefly whip the soup. Pour the soup into bowls, garnish with parsley and serve immediately.